Today’s News: Bell trial nears end; Dorner firing probe; Pricey School Board races

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todaysnewsbanner2Bell corruption. Closing arguments are expected to begin today in a corruption trial for the former mayor of Bell and five former city councilmembers. They’re accused of giving themselves six-figure salaries in a rip-off that prosecutors say put the small city on the edge of bankruptcy. The defendants say they didn’t know they were doing anything legal because they were kept in the dark by former City Manager Robert Rizzo. He’ll be tried later. L.A. Times

Killing spree. Orange County authorities say they still don’t know what motivated a 20-year-old part-time college student to go on an hour-long shooting rampage that left three people dead and five injured. The gunman – identified as Ali Sayed – killed himself as police closed in yesterday. The wild series of events began before dawn at a townhouse in Ladera Ranch, where Sayed killed a woman in her 20s. A series of carjackings followed in which a 69-year-old businessman and a 26-year-old construction worker were shot to death. O.C. Register

Dorner firing. Former police officer Christopher Dorner is dead, but the investigation into his firing from the LAPD will live on. The angry ex-cop killed four people before his final stand-off with police at a cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains last week. Dorner blamed racism for his dismissal. Police Chief Charlie Beck says that it’s crucial for public trust that his department review the circumstances of that firing. Beck also says Dorner is believed to have stalked at least five LAPD officers in the weeks before he began killing. Neon Tommy

Board of Education The three races for L.A. School Board are bringing in big bucks: more than $4 million dollars in political donations, including $2 million-plus from outside sources. The contentious District 4 race has drawn more than $1 million in outside donations on its own. The race pits incumbent Steve Zimmer against lawyer Kate Anderson. The challenger has received more than $500,000 from a reform-minded political committee. Zimmer has received an equivalent amount from labor groups, including the teacher’s union. L.A. Daily News

Buss memorial. Lakers owner Jerry Buss will be remembered at a private memorial service tomorrow afternoon at Nokia Theatre. The 3 p.m. service is for invited guests only, but it will be televised on Channel 9. Buss will also be saluted before tonight’s Lakers game with the Boston Celtics at Staples Center. Buss, 80, died this week of kidney failure after a lengthy battle with cancer. KTLA